Is mindfulness just nonsense?

“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.” ― Amit Ray, Mindfulness : Living in the Moment – Living in the Breath

As I prepare to facilitate a 90 minute workshop on the topic of “The Power of Mindfulness in the Workplace” at the upcoming 54th Annual HRMA Annual Conference + Tradeshow, I am feeling anxious and doubtful.

When you’re in the line of work that is about personal leadership, well, you have to start with leading yourself first.

To be honest, I’ve been struggling with mindfulness the past few months. As soon as I confirmed this speaking engagement, I created a huge block on mindfulness. The pressure of standing in front of our community to speak on this topic, made it more difficult to write this blog or even share my thoughts.

Even yesterday morning as I started to write, I found an amazing article on mindfulness wishing I had written it first (check my LinkedIn for the posting.)

Everyone’s talking about mindfulness. Everyone’s an expert.

So, what could I have to say that’s different and meaningful?

[breathe]

After taking three deep breaths, I realize the anxiousness and stress I was creating within myself was about trying to “be” what I felt others want me to be versus just being myself.

In moments like this, I am not in my most authentic self.

So, I decided to reflect on what causes us to step out of alignment with ourselves to get to the root cause before sharing how mindfulness will bring us back.

Here are five common hurdles.

Hurdle #1: Not knowing our personal core values. We can easily be influenced or distracted by external factors when we do not know what matters to us most or what we will stand for. Therefore, the lack of knowing causes confusion, indecision, and regression.

Hurdle #2: Not defining our life purpose. More and more of us are asking “why” and starting the process of clarifying our reason for being. It’s not an easy thing to do and it may take days, months and years of self-reflection to get there. The repercussions of not defining your “north star” is not staying focused and not having the strength to block out distractions. The lack of purpose also makes it more difficult to face our fears.

Hurdle #3: We want to fit in. We are social creatures and by nature, we want to be affiliated or part of a community, team, or family. Therefore, the desire to fit in may overpower our desire to be our true selves and accept that we are good just the way we are.

Hurdle #4: We compare ourselves with others. It’s hard not to compare our lives with others and feel FOMO. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world that is fully connected through technology. Even those that are not on Facebook or LinkedIn, will get the “update” from another person sharing it verbally. It’s easy to learn about what others are doing and then comparing our life to theirs. I love this quote, “Don’t compare your Chapter 1 with someone else’s Chapter 20” – Unknown

Hurdle #5: We like to be in control. In Arianna Huffington’s powerful words, “Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen.” What generally causes stress is wanting something that is not happening right now. If we are always trying to control everything in life, we prevent ourselves experiencing new adventures and connections. We hold ourselves back from experiencing more joy and play that comes from living with ease and flow.

When I think of mindfulness, I think of meditation, being present and aware, and clearing my mind for more creativity. It’s all that and more.

Mindfulness is also the struggle and journey in between the moments of presence. There’s an ongoing dance in mindfulness that is very natural and a part of our way of living.

I call this practice mindflow.

Mindflow is a combination of pausing for reflection and then integrating the learning immediately. It is infinite growth and love in one’s life.

Try these three mindflow practices:

  1. Set intentions before every experience. When you wake up, before you walk into a meeting, at the start of your break, on your drive home, before your workout, before dinner, or before you go to bed, set a clear intention on how you want to be with an “I am…” statement. “I am focused.” “I am an active listener.” “I am present.” “I am grateful.” “I care.” “I am love.” It only takes a few seconds to pause, breathe, and state your intention.
  2. Define and live your core values daily. It always starts with your core. When you can confidently declare your core values, the next step is to hold yourself accountable to living and breathing those values. The great thing about values is that they are innate and should come to you with ease. Challenge yourself to strengthen and demonstrate one or all of your core values and then reflect at the end of the day.
  3. Let go of the control and start playing. For some, letting go might seem harder than to stay in control. The desire for control comes from lack of trust and fear. We know this yet we hang on to what feels comfortable even when it is draining our energy. Ever wonder why we have so much fun playing? Control does not exist in play. It’s time to find your inner child and #getmessy! It’s time to play!

How do you incorporate mindfulness at work?

I believe that the workplace should be an extension of your daily life. When you start leading yourself to be more mindful, it will start to carry over from one environment to another. At SPARK Creations, we refer to this human evolution as #FEELIT, #WORKIT, #LIVEIT.

Is mindfulness just nonsense?

The answer is that it will make more sense when you start living it. Rather than struggle to be mindful everyday, I will dance with life and find moments of mindfulness so it is integrated and a part of my daily living.

Which one of these mindflow practices will you start today?

I would love to hear how your experience went. Share in the comments below and connect with me today!

To learn more about mindfulness and play with mindflow, join me at the 54th Annual Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) Conference and Tradeshow on April 26 and 27, 2016. I will be facilitating a workshop on “The Power of Mindfulness in the Workplace” on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. #HRMA2016

Lorie Corcuera
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